HOW TO TRAP
Q: If I kill the grubs in my yard, will the moles leave?
A: This is the single biggest misconception about moles that we encounter. This myth is likely perpetuated by chemical manufacturers and lawn services which are interested in peddling insecticides to trusting consumers. Reputable companies and knowledgeable sources recognize that while moles will most certainly eat grubs, the vast majority of their diet will always be comprised of earthworms. For this reason, the application of insecticides such as diazinon and biological controls like milky spore bacillus rarely influence their activities.
Our advice is simple. If grubs are responsible for damage to your lawn, then treat for them. If moles are the problem, trap them out! Don't waste time attempting to transform your yard into an environment hostile to mole habitation. It cannot be done effectively (or without negative environmental impact, for that matter), and it will only allow the moles more time to become established and possibly even reproduce on your property.
Q: How do I know that moles are responsible for the damage in my yard and not other animals such as voles?
A: It usually is not difficult to distinguish mole damage from the activities of other animals. First, moles are the only animals that create shallow surface tunnels. These tunnels will appear as ridges snaking through lawns and landscape beds and have a "mushy" feel when compacted. Mole hills are volcano shaped and can be made up of both finely ground soil during dry periods or clods of earth during wet conditions. Moles do not use their poor eyesight in their daily activities, and these reclusive creatures characteristically do not construct exit holes from their burrows (unlike chipmunks, voles, shrews, mice, and pocket gophers).
Q: Will your traps also catch other pests such as voles, shrews, or chipmunks?
A: No. The trap that we use is target-specific (it is only effective on moles) because the triggering mechanism is specifically adapted to the mole's digging style.
Q: I think that I have moles I my house. Is this possible?
A: Moles feed primarily on earthworms and their hunting strategy requires them to construct tunnels to collect their food. Unless your basement has a dirt floor, you do not have moles in your home. Likely culprits are mice, shrews, or rats.
Q: I have fifty mounds in my yard. Does that mean that I have fifty moles?
A: Absolutely not! Mole population densities are low as compared to those of other small mammals. Two to three individuals per acre are a standard population density, although in particularly favorable mole habitat, five is not terribly uncommon.
One mole can be responsible for a lot of damage. Although it might appear that the moles are staging Woodstock in your backyard, you probably have fewer currently in your yard than what you think. The difficulty in control is that moles will often reoccupy tunnel systems once the original residents have been removed.
Q: Why do I have moles and my neighbors don't?
A: The size of a mole's homerange frequently spans more than an acre, so chances are your neighbors do have moles. Remember, moles are subterranean animals and they are capable of constructing incredibly complex tunnel systems with little or no evidence on the surface.
Moles are also deliberate animals, and are incredibly adept at identifying subtle differences in habitat that can mean the difference between survival and death. For instance, if your lawn is nicer than that of your neighbors, odds are that you water it with more frequency. The increased soil moisture, however slight, can facilitate mole tunneling and ultimately make your property more appealing. People also have differing levels of sensitivity to mole damage. A completely unacceptable amount of damage to one homeowner might well go unnoticed by another.
Q: My child caught a mole and wants to keep it as a pet. What do you think?
A: We think that this is a remarkably bad idea for several reasons. First, any child intrigued enough with moles to want one as a pet is also going to find the prospect of petting it irresistible. Moles have needle-sharp teeth and the musculature of their jaw is designed for rapid biting. When little Johnny goes to pick up the mole, he (Johnny) will be bitten and probably repeatedly.
Moles are finicky creatures that would sooner die than live in a substandard environment. Ask any mole researcher what enormously demanding house guests these guys make! They must be kept separately, supplied with fresh water and an amount of earthworms equivalent to at least half of their body weight daily, and their tank must be large with divided nesting and feeding chambers. Even then, the design that we have seen is reported to keep moles alive for a mean duration of only 268 days. You can't rush to the pet store to select a mole identical in size and coloration every time one croaks, so your child is likely to spend a good deal of time in mourning.
Do not overlook the fact that moles use scent to mark their territories. To humans, this scent will register as stink once it accumulates to any concentration, although it will be somewhat masked by the fragrant eau de dead worm parts. Finally, moles are wild animals and it is most likely illegal to keep one as a pet. We highly doubt that the game warden will be barging down your door in a pre-dawn raid if you harbor one, but perhaps this is just the excuse you need to convince your child of the merits of gerbils.
Q: Do moles hibernate?
A: No. Most mole species are unable to store food or fat. Therefore, they must be active all winter long in search of food. Damage is typically not as evident during the winter months because moles spend most of this period in their deeper burrows below the frost line. With the arrival of the cold, their prey species also retreat deeper into the soil column and the moles must change their patterns to access them.
Tunnel construction continues during the winter, and excess dirt is frequently shunted into shallower runs no longer in active use. A prolonged trend of temperate weather or an insulating snowfall causes the soil to warm, often precipitating new mole tunneling. Mole mounds popping up through a blanket of snow make terrifically vivid reminders that moles are still in the vicinity and definitely not slumbering away!
TRAPPING SERVICE QUESTIONS
Q: I live near the woods and my neighbors will not help. Can you still be successful?
A: Yes. The majority of the properties where we trap professionally are closely associated with woodlands and nearly all are effected by the "useless neighbor" syndrome. Although these factors make the job more difficult, control can always be achieved because we can trap moles faster than they can recolonize areas.
Q: Why is trapping effective?
A: Moles breed very slowly as compared to other small mammals with females bearing only one annual litter of two to seven offspring. Additionally, approximately 50% of moles will die of natural causes each year, principally from starvation. Couple this low reproductive rate and high natural mortality with a mole's territorial, low-density social structure (two to three individuals per acre is standard), and it is easy to imagine the benefits of removing even small numbers of moles from your lawn.
Q: I don't have any shallow tunnels in my yard, just mounds. Can you still catch them?
A: Yes. The design of our trap allows it to be set easily and effectively wherever moles are active, whether that is on a shallow surface runway or a tunnel deep in the ground. This versatility is one reason why this trap design is the overwhelming choice of professional mole trappers nationwide.
Q: Are the traps dangerous for my pets?
A: No. When set, the business portion of the trap is entirely contained in the ground. Although a set trap holds no interest for pets (it is just a piece of metal in the ground), if they were to tamper with it and were able to set it off (which is also doubtful), the trap would spring harmlessly. In the thousands upon thousands of times that we have set these traps in yards with dogs and cats, we have never injured any animals except moles. You can keep pets away from a set trap by covering it with a bucket held in place by a brick on top.
Q: Do the traps kill the moles?
A: Yes. Even if you were able to efficiently catch the moles occupying your yard alive (and this is a very big if), and released them elsewhere, odds are they would not survive. Moles have a high natural mortality and 65% die in the first year of life due to the difficulty of establishing the complex tunnel system necessary to gather its food. When you remove a mole from this environment, you are essentially forcing it to "start over," and it will likely starve to death (moles need to obtain an amount of food equivalent to 60-100% of their body weight daily).
Although moles would likely take exception to this point, trapping is an environmentally friendly control method. It is target specific (these traps will only catch moles so no other animals are harmed) and it is much more effective than spreading insecticides on your lawn which impact the environment well beyond the boundaries of your property.
Q: How much do you charge to trap moles?
A: Our prices for trapping vary considerably based on the extent of infestation, quality of habitat, and size of the property. The affluence of a neighborhood does not influence our pricing, except as it relates to these factors. It is often difficult to understand the scope of a mole problem without inspection, which is why we offer free estimates.
Q: Have you seen the movie Caddyshack ?
A: Yes, we have. In fact, we used to like it quite a bit. If you insist on asking us this question or comparing us to Bill Murray, do so after you purchase your kit or we give you the bid for your property. Otherwise, we are likely to charge you more. Sorry, company policy!